#38 Pursuing “Platform Thinking” Through Data Mesh – Interview w/ Eric Broda

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Eric’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ericbroda/

Eric’s Twitter: @ericmbroda / https://twitter.com/ericmbroda

Eric’s Medium (multiple posts on data mesh): https://medium.com/@ericbroda

In this episode, Scott interviews Eric Broda, an Executive Consultant in the financial services space. Eric shared his learnings from aiding a large financial services firm to implement data mesh from the infancy of the project.

Eric’s big thesis for companies looking to be data-driven is to think of themselves as a platform for connecting supply and demand. The internal company may be the supplier, e.g. if a bank is lending money directly, but more often it is about being the platform – so here to match investors to consumers looking to take out a loan. Lowering the friction between both sides of your constituency is crucial and getting really good at data can help there.

To Eric, the technology is like plumbing – you expect it to work but most businesses at the high level don’t care about it as long as it works. You don’t buy a house for the plumbing.

Eric’s big point of advice is that you shouldn’t underestimate the organizational change required to do something like data mesh right. Plan for the change and don’t try to skip the necessary change, that will lead to disaster. Speaking of organizational structure, Eric firmly believes that centralization of data ownership fails Conway’s Law. While companies can overcome that with a LOT of effort, most don’t get there due to fatigue.

When developing a new data product, Eric recommends to first start with expected usage patterns pretty explicitly via a 1:1 relationship model; at least early in a data product’s life, the data produced needs to explicitly match the needs of the first target data consumer. This is a departure from data mesh recommended practice but seems to be somewhat of a common emerging pattern, at least in financial services.

Eric also stated his belief that master data management – or MDM – “is dead”, especially in data mesh. It hasn’t ever really worked and it’s not worth trying to do it with data mesh. Time will tell on that one.

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